Mallacoota inlet opened to the sea

Mallacoota inlet opened to the sea

There were smiles around Mallacoota last Thursday as the excavation process began to release the swollen Mallacoota lakes into the sea.

Good rainfall over the catchment at the beginning of last week meant the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) was able to move on the process to open the Mallacoota Inlet, which locals have been keen to see happen for quite some time.

The entrance had been closed since November 2017, with water levels rising in recent months to cover roads and jetties, resulting in numerous safety concerns both on and off shore with damaged and slippery jetties and flotsam and jetsam out in the lakes.

The conditions were favourable last week for Parks Victoria to artificially open the entrance with lake levels now beginning to drop.

Peter York, of Bucklands Jetty Boat Hire, was pleased to see his jetty was finally clear of water on Monday morning.

“There’s a bit of damage and weed, with a couple of boards that look a bit spongy and will need replacing, but as a commercial operator I’ve kept up with whatever maintenance I could, so it’s not so bad,” Peter said.

“We’ve been pretty lucky. There are other jetty owners, those that aren’t working them every day, there’s a lot more damage being revealed as the water goes down. One jetty just up from me has about 150mm of slimy weed. That’s going to take a lot of work to remove.”

Peter said the water was still flowing out yesterday morning and it won’t be until it levels out, when the lake water levels up with the open water, that the true height of the inlet water will be known.

“It’s still not below the high water mark,” he said yesterday morning.

“It looks like it has been a good opening. Now we wait and see. It’s really up to the gods now. If we get rain we’ll get flow and it will stay open.”

EGCMA chief executive officer, Graeme Dear, said EGCMA would be watching the estuary’s situation.

“We will continue to monitor water levels and stream flows into the estuary and provide further advice if the entrance closes again,” he said.

“We would also like to thank those in the community who have assisted with data gathering in recent months.”

Further information about estuary conditions can be found on the East Gippsland CMA website.

The Mallacoota estuary inlet opening happened in the same week that the Snowy River mouth closed over at Marlo, causing concerns for local farmers.

PICTURED: Mallacoota Inlet levels are dropping after the estuary was opened last Thursday. Locals hope rains will maintain a good flow once levels have settled so the inlet will remain open for an extended period. (PHOTO: Colin Dixon)